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Sleeper steals options: American League

Updated: March 8, 2013, 12:11 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

The big-league leader in stolen bases last season was Mike Trout with 49, which was basically six weeks for Billy Hamilton. I was at the Futures Game in Kansas City, Mo., last summer, and in the clubhouse prior to the game, Hamilton was being mobbed by reporters. He had already topped 100 steals at the All-Star break. On the other side of the room, Toronto Blue Jays outfield prospect Anthony Gose, himself blessed with crazy speed, was pretty much being ignored, so I asked him about his progress.

Gose had stolen 29 bases by that point at Triple-A Las Vegas, and he ended up with a mere 34, down from 70 the season before, but that hardly means he took steps backward overall. Gose kept drawing walks at a nice rate and cut down on the strikeouts. When the Blue Jays promoted him to the big leagues, he had little trouble stealing bases, and didn't look overmatched while producing a .740 OPS in September and a few days of October.

The issue for Gose, of course, is playing time. He's already tasted the major leagues, and while he doesn't bring the ridiculous stolen base upside of Hamilton, this is a guy who certainly could lead the AL in the category, someone that could flirt with 50 steals if given the chance. Then again, the Blue Jays appear to be contenders, having added Melky Cabrera to play left field and dealing for half the Miami Marlins to shore up other areas. For now, Gose seems headed for Las Vegas, though Rajai Davis could be trade bait, and who knows what physical ailments could hold back others, like Jose Bautista and Emilio Bonifacio. Gose is a tremendous outfielder, and earned nearly the same WAR as Davis, even though Davis played three times as much.

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